IIT on autonomy

The IIT Council creates commissions for greater autonomy.

The IIT Council has set up committees to look to the elite institutions for greater autonomy.

In accordance with the recommendations of the National Education Policy, as well as the restructuring of the Academic Senate, the grooming of the faculty heading the IITs, and creative strategies for funding. According to a statement from the Ministry of Education, the Council also proposed cutting IIT staff strength to lower levels. Council representatives, however, claimed that the debate at the meeting on Monday only revolved around the need to minimize non-teaching staff in the face of increasing digitalisation and outsourcing, and no decisions were made. The IIT Council is chaired by the Minister for Education and includes the directors of all IITs and the chairs of the Board of Governors of each IIT. It is intended to advise on requirements of entry, length of courses, degrees and other academic distinctions, and also to provide policy on the structure, methods of recruitment and conditions of service of all IIT employees.

The rationalisation of workers from current standards to a lower number was also recommended,” the Education Ministry statement said at the meeting.” At present, the IITs act such that there is one faculty member for every ten students. And we have pre-approval for 11 staff for every ten faculty. That is the ratio in which we work, already approved by the government,’ an IIT director who was at the meeting explained. No improvement in that ratio was addressed. Instead, given the increasing digitisation of administrative duties and outsourcing of departments such as maintenance, housekeeping and transport, there was routine discussion about how to minimize non-essential labor, the director said. According to the ministry release, the IIT Council has agreed to set up four working groups related to the implementation of NEPs, including a ‘Ranked Autonomy, Empowered and Accountable [Boards of Governors] and Directors’ group. While numerous commissions, including in the recent past, have made similar recommendations, their proposals have not yet been acted upon.

Former IIT Kanpur President M. Ananda Krishnan led a commission on changes in autonomy and governance that published its report in 2019. Similar recommendations were also submitted by another panel of four IIT directors just three months ago, said an IIT Council member. Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank also called on the IITs to establish Institute Development Plans to enhance faculty mobility between institutions and industry in order to facilitate collaborative research. He hoped that by 2022, the 75th Year of India’s Independence, IITs will aspire to achieve global rankings,” the statement said.”

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